Reflecting on 8 Years {Our Home}

We’re approaching the 8 year mark since we moved into our home- 2 if you’re counting leap years because we moved in on February 29 (I’ve heard that it’s good luck when big things happen on that day!). When we purchased our home it was at the beginning of the housing boom. We were fortunate to buy low-ish, but the downside was that the number of houses to select from was very limited. We ended up buying what we thought was the best house in a price range we were comfortable with, even though it was far from our dream home. Looking back, it was a good thing we didn’t wait for the perfect house to come around because prices jumped dramatically in the year to follow.

Over those 8 years we’ve made some changes to our house, but far from what we originally planned. When we moved in, I didn’t just dislike the flooring, I actually loathed it. Added to that list was the faux granite laminate countertops, the textured fireplace that looked like an iced wedding cake, the cool grey painted walls, the ugly builder grade light fixtures, and the reddish stained skimpy baseboards.

It seemed like a lofty list, but the house was located in a family-friendly neighborhood and was the right size for the 3 of us. I loved the large windows in the kitchen and master bedroom, the ensuite had a wonderful soaker tub and a lot of storage, the kitchen had a large island and walk-in pantry and there was a large family bonus room on the second floor. The positives far outweighed any of the negatives and I knew I could work with it.

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Our Basement Renovation {Part One}

This week I’ve been finalizing the plans for our basement. When we purchased our home 8 years ago, it was unfinished and we didn’t have any intention of doing much with it. Over the years it has mainly served as a place for storage, somewhere to hold my work table for messy projects, a place to work out (sadly, not very often) and the occasional mini sticks game.

As time has gone by and my son has become older, the need for more room in our home has grown. When we decorated our upstairs family room about 6 years ago, my son and his friends were small. Fast forward 6 years and we now have 16 and 17 year old ‘men’ walking around the house and the noise that comes with them is astonishing! (I’m not sure how it happened, but all of his friends are 6’2″ and up. That takes up a lot of space!) Finishing the basement (or at least part of it) seems like the right solution. I don’t know about you, but as a teenager I loved having friends over to watch movies and having a space for us all to crash.

Over the years the main room at the bottom of the stairs has become somewhat of a hangout anyway. As new furniture was purchased for other parts of our home, the old stuff made its way to the basement. Currently there’s an old TV, stand, floor pillows, lamp, side table, and a large area rug. It has all served a purpose, but it’s time to create a proper hangout space.

Throughout the renovation in the coming weeks, I’ll be documenting the entire process. Topics will range anywhere from selecting doors and trim, to paint colors, to flooring, to furniture and accessories. I know it’s going to require a lot of work and decision making, but I know it will be worth it in the end! Here are some lovely pictures of basement family rooms I have found as a source of inspiration:

{Sarah Richardson via HGTV}

{via Sarah Richardson Design}

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Taking Chances {what are you up for in 2012?}

Happy New Year! I took a much needed break with my family and friends in the Rocky Mountains this past week. I’m kicking myself for leaving my camera in my suitcase most of the time because the snow-topped trees and mountain vistas can’t be beat this time of year. If you haven’t been to Banff or surrounding area in the winter, I suggest adding it to your bucket list. We live fairly close to the area, but I never get tired of the scenery.

{via}

I have to admit I was excited about bringing in the new year with friends in a gorgeous cabin, but I was a bit reluctant about the whole skiing thing. You know those activities you did back in the day that you haven’t done since. Fortunately, I went on a few mountain ski trips as a teen and I skied at a small local hill a few times a year with friends growing up. However, it was at least 10 years since I’d been on skis and I was definitely nervous about the whole thing. Luckily my son and his cousins are fairly new at snow boarding, so I was able to take a few runs on the bunny hill before tackling the chair lift.

Encouragement goes a long way and it wasn’t too much time before my husband and cousins were dragging me to the chair lift. I vowed to myself that 2012 was going to be a year of taking more chances and putting myself out there in a bigger way. Part of me was ready, but a bigger part was saying you’re no spring chick and something bad is going to happen! I somehow shut that voice off in my head and just went for it. I had to trust that everything would be okay.

You know what? It wasn’t exactly like riding a bike, but I put one ski in front of the other and made my way down the hill (with a few lessons from my husband’s cousin). I came across obstacles (icy patches and heavy powder) and somehow found a way to get through it all. I reached the bottom of the mountain and a sense of accomplishment set in and I was ready to try another run (well after my burning legs had time to rest)!

{via Amanda Eck on Pinterest}

I see this time and time again with home improvements. It’s often the first project that can be the most intimidating, so you put it off. You think- what if I choose the wrong paint color and have to repaint? What if the table comes and I hate it? What if I choose that fabric for the drapery and it doesn’t go with the sofa? What if, what if, what if…So you end up doing nothing and you feel like you’re always at the bottom of the mountain waiting for courage to finally set in.

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